Writing

Writing Advice from Famous Authors

Regan Platt is an offline marketing intern at Author Solutions, the world leader in supported self-publishing. She is currently a senior at Indiana University where she studies English. Regan is in Indiana University’s Liberal Arts Management Program, an honors level interdisciplinary program that incorporates Kelley School of Business courses with a liberal arts education. 

Don’t stop reading.Don't stop reading.

William Faulkner: “Read, read, read. Read everything — trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write. If it’s good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out of the window.”

Meaning: Faulkner emphasizes the importance of immersion. If you constantly surround yourself with writing, then you can start to observe both valuable techniques and common pitfalls. As you put to practice what you’ve observed, your own writing will become all the better for it.

Write the book you can’t find.

Toni Morrison: “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”               

Meaning: This quote can be read as a call to arms for dreamers and “creatives.” The world would have so much less to read and dream if those with great stories never shared them.

Follow your instincts.

Saul Bellow: “You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write.”                                    

Meaning: Bellow comforts and encourages fellow writers who work in bursts of passion. Inspiration may come at the strangest and least convenient of times, yet when the muse calls it is best to answer.

Beware the predictable.Robert Frost Quote

Robert Frost: “No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.”

Meaning: Frost suggests that strong writing occasionally necessitates a stream-of-consciousness technique that leaves only feelings and ideas. This emotional work results in literary moments of ingenuity.

Show, don’t tell.

Anton Chekhov: “Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.”

Meaning: Our final quote by Chekhov reverberates the traditional writing advice “show, don’t tell.”  Engaging writing leaves a reader to do some of the “visualizing” work themselves. Rather than dully listing the circumstances, great writing will reveal what’s happening in an innovative way.

 

Archway Publishing is always looking for content for its blog. If you’re an Archway Publishing author and would like to share an idea for a guest blog post, please tweet the Archway Publishing Twitter account @ArchwayPub or send us a message at the Archway Publishing Facebook page.

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Writing

Thirteen Mistakes Readers Always Catch – Part One

Finding Mistakes

If you’re reading this, then chances are you’re a writer. And if you’re a writer, then chances are you’ve read a book and set it down in disappointment because you found some mistakes that offend your sense of professionalism.

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We all have.

Worse than finding an annoying blunder while reading is when an error is pointed out in your own work. A person finds a mistake in your work that you somehow missed. This is a mortifying moment. It’s especially annoying because the mistake is usually obvious after it’s been found. We know you hate this sensation and moment as much as we do! Continue reading

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Writing

Four Ways to Manage Your Writing Schedule

Rumor has it J.K. Rowling worked for five years, building the world of Harry Potter and plotting all seven books before she began writing anything. Jack Kerouac reportedly wrote the draft of On the Road in less than a month. How long will it take you to write or finish your book?

The right answer is up to you.

The one thing you will absolutely need is some kind of plan. It doesn’t matter whether your writing plan is a month long or a year long. The time is less important than the plan.

In the post-Four Ways to Manage Your Writing Schedule, Archway Publishing offers 4 easy tips you can use to help you keep to your writing plan, whatever it is.

Click here to read more >>

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Writing

Meet Max!: The Editing Process

From time to time, Archway Publishing turns over its blog to its authors, giving them the opportunity to share stories and perspectives about their individual self-publishing journeys. The following are the words of Elizabeth Rosso, author of “Meet Max”. Download the Archway Publishing free publishing guide for more information on our supported self-publishing services. 

Welcome back! Last time was all about how I came up with the idea for Max and got everything preserved in writing. The resulting smorgasbord of thoughts was far from a finished product, however; it needed work. Lots of work. As overwhelming as that might sound, it really boiled down to length and page content.
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First, length. I needed to keep my target audience in mind. A child’s attention span is shorter than an adult’s, and younger children will lose interest more quickly than older ones. But which parts to condense, or cut out altogether? At first I wasn’t sure, so I saved all the deleted language into another file so I could add it back in easily if needed. As I worked, I noticed that certain sections felt like they were dragging, or that some parts seemed to need more work than others. Those are the sections I cut out – after all, if it was my work and even I thought it was dragging, what child would stick around to hear what happens next? In the end it came down to keeping only those parts of the story that moved – they had action verbs or involved dialogue. And when the storyline reached a point where it was naturally ready to shift to another activity or another day, that’s when this particular story ended. The new day would be a new story!

Next it was time to decide what text went on which page and with which illustration (even though I didn’t have illustrations…yet). Since it’s a children’s book, my initial thought was to keep it very simple, with just one sentence on each page. But after I divided the manuscript that way, it became clear that this was a bit too simple, because the story seemed to drag on forever. So I moved towards keeping one idea or concept per page: Max’s size, his family, his home, etc. I still limited the text so it wouldn’t be overwhelming for my target audience, but even with two or three sentences per page it felt neither too wordy nor too slow.

After all that – along with a lot of internal back-and-forth over word choice – I finally had my manuscript. Now I needed to bring it to life. More questions: do I go the traditional route, paved with rejection letters from big publishing houses? Or do I publish it myself? You already know the answer, but more on how I got there next time!

Archway Publishing is always looking for content for its blog. If you’re an Archway Publishing author and would like to share an idea for a guest blog post, please tweet the Archway Publishing Twitter account @ArchwayPub and Like the Archway Publishing Facebook page.  

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Writing

4 Words to Unleash Your Creativity

Creativity is a very interesting and often debated topic. Is it something you are born with or something you can develop? Is it something that only happens when limitations are removed or is there a process you can follow to foster creative ideas?

Keith Ogorek, senior vice president of marketing for Author Solutions – which operates Archway Publishing for Simon & Schuster, shares 4 words that will help you unleash your creativity in his Indie Book Writers blog. In the post, Ogorek explains how 4 simple words can fuel your creativity.

Click here to read more >>

 

Archway Publishing is always looking for content for its blog. If you’re an Archway Publishing author and would like to share an idea for a guest blog post, please tweet the Archway Publishing Twitter account @ArchwayPub and Like the Archway Publishing Facebook page.

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self-publishing tips, Writing

One Draft Wonder

Many writers are confused about what happens after you have managed to get the first draft out of your head and onto the page. There are some who mistakenly go straight to the publishing process. However, there are a few more steps to take before you can get there.

For many writers, the first draft is just the bare bones of the finished work. It should be an introductory draft where you get all your ideas on to paper. Anything is possible in this draft, write down everything that’s in your head and worry about the editing in later drafts. Once you get this done, go ahead and print it out and go through it and make notes or corrections as needed. Take your time on this step to make sure you can really clean it up before you go on to the second draft.

Your second draft should be where you create the structure and make sure the story has a good flow. Here you can decide if the story works or if you want to go back to the drawing board. This is the point where you have an actual manuscript. You should go over your work a few times and make sure it makes sense. Most publishers recommend a structural edit which is usually given to you as a separate document, broken down into sections based on what is being evaluated. After you get your edits back, take your time making any changes you may need to.

One step that not a lot of authors use is having beta readers. Beta readers are a trusted group of people who evaluate your book from a reader’s perspective. You should only get to this step when you are completely satisfied with your book. You should generally pick 5 to 6 people who enjoy and understand the genre of your book and who can spot issues.

Another step that is recommended is line editing. This step can be pretty brutal. Line edits are more about word choice, grammar and sentence structure. Try not to take all the editing and red ink to heart. The goal is to make your book stronger and your readers will appreciate you for it.

After you have made all the revisions from the beta readers and the line editor, give your manuscript one last final proof-read from a professional and get ready for the publication process!

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Writing

Outline Before You Write

Mention the word outline in a room full of writers, and you’re sure to ignite a firestorm of passionate debate. Writers either love to use this tool to improve their writing or they hate it. While it may not suit every writer, a well thought-out outline can be a valuable asset, and serve as a road map to which a lost writer can refer to get back on the path to success.

Keith Ogorek, senior vice president of marketing for Author Solutions – which operates Archway Publishing for Simon & Schuster, shared three options for creating an outline on his Indie Book Writers blog. In the post, Ogorek reviews three popular options: the classic outline, the summary outline and storyboarding.

 

Click here to read more about outlines >>

 

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